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Winter Weather Terms

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Over the years we have published a number of Meteorological Terms. As we approach winter you will hear some of these on the news, unless you live in the warmer climates. Here goes:

Blizzard – A severe storm characterized by low temperatures with winds above 35 miles/ 56 kilometers per hour, with visibility less than 500 feet/ 150 meters because of falling and blowing snow. Sometimes the term “ground blizzard” is used which refers to a storm in which all the airborne snow has resuspended from which had previously fallen.

Chinook – Also known as a foehn or “snow eater.” It is the name given to a warm, dry wind descending off the lee or eastern side of the Rocky Mountains that generally blow from the southwest. The Chinook not only brings relief to winter cold but also melts and evaporates the snow. It is not all good news since some winds have been measures at up to 147 miles or 235 kilometers per hour.

Cold Wave – A rapid fall in temperature within 24 hours to temperatures that requires substantially increased protection to agriculture, industry, commerce and social activities affected by the cold.

(Continued Below)

Squall – strong wind characterized by a quick start and end lasting only a few minutes. It may or may not be accompanied by precipitation.

Virga – Wisps or streaks of water or ice particles that fall from the cloud but evaporate before reaching the Earth’s surface.

Here is one more but a bit unusual…

Cornscateous Air – a term used first by old almanac makers to signify warm, damp air. While it signals ideal climate conditions for growing corn, it also poses a danger to those affected by asthma, pneumonia and other respiratory problems.

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